After my second vacation to Hot Springs I have decided that Hot Springs, Arkansas is the New Orleans French Quarter for the over forty crowd. There are beautiful Victorian era buildings, arts, entertainment and some really good food, but much less emphasis on alcohol and crawling back to the hotel at dawn. That was another lifetime ago :) Hot Springs is Americas first national park being named by Andrew Jackson as a Federal Reservation in 1832. This paved the way for the development of setting aside natural areas and preserving them for the public use through the National Park system by a future president. The Park Service has restored the old Fordyce Bathhouse and conducts daily tours as well as administers the springs flowing in the area. The Buckstaff Bathhouse a few doors down offers spa services to the public where you can soak in the warm spring water and get a massage too. Being a gal that likes to eat, the downtown restaurants offer rich fare. My favorite is the Brau Haus German restaurant that offers some hearty plates of good old-fashioned German cooking. We ate there two nights in row. Breakfast around town is pretty standard unless you stay at Tinkerbelle's Wildwood 1884 Bed&Breakfast. It's a gorgeous restored Victorian House just on the edge of downtown. Breakfast is a five course affair of culinary treats served on fine china in a Victorian dining room. Stayed there last year and loved it. My dog sitter has moved, so we had to stay at the Velda Rose because Wildwood doesn't allow pets. (Can't blame them with all the restoration and antiques.) Across from the Velda Rose is a bakery called "Daily Bread" that has the best cream cheese danishes on the planet. The walnut bread is also stellar and we ate a loaf of it on the way to Garvan Gardens. If you love turn of the century architecture, strolling through downtown Hot Springs is pure eye candy. Wednesday night is the oldest on going open mike poetry/music stage in the country at the downtown coffee house. Most of the bars and restaurants have live musicians. It's a nice low key place to hang out, walk a lot and generally unwind. There is also crystal mining! Nothing is more fun than to be outside in fresh air digging in dirt and finding pretty shiny rocks. Okay, it takes certain kind of person to find that enjoyable :) I found some pretty decent clusters and points this year to add to my piles of crystaline treasures around the house and yard. Life is Good!
Updated: 9:08 AM GMT on November 02, 2007
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